Any company plotting a path to an initial stock offering knows about the “quiet period” in which executives refrain from making public comments beyond those details contained in regulatory filings.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son appeared to ignore convention in his appearance Wednesday at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., as he offered an unabashed endorsement of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
SoftBank holds a 37 percent stake in Alibaba — a company that Son backed 14 years ago, with an initial $20 million investment.
Alibaba’s public stock offering is perhaps the most anticipated in the technology space since Facebook. Son offered a hearty endorsement of Alibaba, noting it brings in more profit than Amazon and eBay combined.
“Both are great companies,” Son said in response to a question posed by Re/code co-CEO Walt Mossberg. “If you just look at the past year, the value of the e-commerce transactions over their platforms, Amazon and eBay added together, Alibaba did more.”
Son said that combining Amazon and eBay would yield a $200 billion in market cap.
“You put the price tag on Alibaba yourself,” Son said.